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On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the graduation ceremony for 301 Probationary Firefighters.
Among the graduates are 21 legacies, whose fathers gave their lives protecting New York City.
“Many of their fathers were killed on September 11th, several others died of World Trade Center illnesses, and others lost their lives in the course of their duty, bravely working to save and protect others,” said Commissioner Nigro. “Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children dreaming of their careers their fathers loved, and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department – today, they have fully achieved their dreams.”
Probationary Firefighter Rebecca Asaro, who graduated today alongside her brother, Probationary Firefighter Marc Asaro, is following in the footsteps of their father, Firefighter Carl Asaro of Engine 54, one of the 343 FDNY members killed on September 11th.
“Every day that I came to the academy, I was grateful to be there and to follow in the footsteps of my father, brothers, uncle, and all those who came before. This is exactly where I want to be,” said Probationary Firefighter Rebecca Asaro.
The Asaros also have two siblings already on the job – Firefighters Matthew and Carl Asaro, Jr.
“It is an amazing experience, to be able to do the same thing that my father had done, and had given his life for. It’s more incredible that my sister and I are doing it together. It’s a proud feeling. My sister and I push each other to be better every day,” added Probationary Firefighter Marc Asaro.
During their time at the FDNY Training Academy, the class was extensively trained in all aspects of their job as Firefighters, including fire suppression and medical response, hazardous materials, collapse and confined space rescue training, auto extrication, building inspections, and procedures for engine and ladder operations.
“Each time the tones go off, you’ll quickly respond to a call for a fire, a medical emergency, a gas leak, a motor vehicle accident, or any number of emergencies. There will be many similar calls, but there are no routine calls,” said Chief of Department John Sudnik. “You’ll be part of a highly-professional team of New York City Firefighters all working together to fulfill the mission of saving lives.”
This graduating class of Probationary Firefighters represents the growing diversity of the Department, with 37 percent identifying as people of color – including 12 percent as black, 20 percent as Hispanic, and five percent as Asian. Sixteen women also graduated, bringing the total number of women serving in our fire suppression to 107. For the first time ever, there were also three Asian-American women graduates.
“I don’t think there are any words that could fully describe what this day means to me,” said Probationary Firefighter Casey Chan, one of the history makers. “Becoming a New York City Firefighter is a long process, but I had so much support here, from the Department to the other women who were in the Academy with me to my squad and that really made this a great experience. I’m really happy to be here now and I’m looking forward to working in the firehouse and helping people in our city.”
View more photos from the ceremony here.